Mar 17, 2022 I Nick Redfern

The 1953 Kingman UFO Affair: Booze, Poor Monkeys and Not An Alien In Sight

Within the realm of UFO research, and even within the media and the general populace, there are very few people who have not heard of the so-called Roswell Incident. It is a strange, sensational saga of conspiracy and duplicity that suggests that nothing less than an alien spacecraft, complete with crew, catastrophically crashed on a remote ranch in the New Mexico desert during the summer of 1947. As of this writing, the Air Force's official position on Roswell is that the affair can be explained in wholly conventional and down-to-earth terms: the unusual wreckage found at the crash site, says the military, originated with a secret high-altitude balloon project, called Project Mogul, which was designed to monitor early Soviet atomic bomb tests. As for the strange bodies found at the scene, according to the Air Force they were nothing stranger than some crash-test dummies that had been used in military parachute experiments. Needless to say, die-hard UFO researchers scoff at such assertions and accuse the U.S. government of engaging in a cover-up of X-Files proportions in order to hide the decidedly extraterrestrial truth. Roswell is not alone in this. Indeed, there are far more than a few reports that suggest aliens may have visited the earth, only to fatally crash and burn.

Hangar 18 Dead Aliens
(Nick Redfern) A dead alien or a dead monkey?

One such event is alleged to have occurred in 1953 in a desert locale on the fringes of the town of Kingman, Arizona. The genesis of the story can be traced back to early February of 1971. Jeff Young and Paul Chetham were two new and enthusiastic UFO investigators who, at the time, were digging into a truly sensational story that, if true, strongly suggested intelligent life existed outside of the confines of our own world. These amazing revelations came from a man named Arthur Stansel, who was a good friend of Young's family and who claimed to have had personal, firsthand knowledge of a crashed UFO and alien body recovery near Kingman on May 21, 1953. During the course of a face-to-face, tape-recorded interview with Young and Chetham, Stansel - who held a master’s degree in engineering and who took part in the D-Day landings at Normandy, France, during the Second World War and who was loaded with martinis at the time of the conversation - recounted that in 1953, he was working at the ultra-secret Nevada Proving Ground. This was the location of a recent atomic bomb test that had been a part of a larger series of tests known as Operation Upshot-Knothole. This operation was just the latest in a whole series of atmospheric nuclear weapons-based tests that fell under the jurisdiction of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), all of which were conducted at the Proving Ground from March 17 to June 4 of 1953.

Stansel told the astonished but excited duo that late one night, he and a colleague observed nothing less than an honest-to-goodness UFO soar across the skies near the site. Ultimately, however, Stansel had much more to impart than a sketchy story of a hard-to-define aerial encounter. As he felt more and more comfortable telling his story, he gradually divulged the details of what would become known as the Kingman affair to the unsuspecting Young and Chetham. Stansel stressed that the incident had taken place during his brief tenure with the U.S. Air Force’s UFO investigation program, known as Project Blue Book. Previous to his time there, he had received a telephone call from the base commander at Wright-Patterson in Dayton, Ohio, with orders for him to fly to Phoenix, Arizona. From there, Stansel was driven to the crash site of what he was told was a secret Air Force project gone awry. Upon his arrival at the site - which he was certain was situated on the fringes of Kingman - Stansel could not fail to see the unusual object.

National Archives e1632169817150
(Nick Redfern) Secret documentation and poor monkeys used for experimentation

This was no classic flying saucer, however; rather, the object was shaped like a cross between a teardrop and a cigar. Moreover, it was small, barely 12 feet long. But that was not all: There was a body. According to Stansel, this was no human body. Yes, it had arms, legs, a torso, and head, but it was only about 4 feet tall, its skin was dark, and its facial features were manifestly different than those of a human being. The truth soon dawned on the shocked Stansel: A spaceship from another world had just crashed at Kingman. Or had it…?

A document titled Early Cloud Penetration, dated January 27, 1956, and prepared by the Air Research and Development Command at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, states in part: "In the event of nuclear warfare the AF is confronted with two special problems. First is the hazard to flight crews who may be forced to fly through an atomic cloud. Second is the hazard to ground crews who maintain the aircraft after it has flown through the cloud…In the 1953 Upshot-Knothole tests, monkeys were used so that experiments could be conducted on larger animals nearer the size of man. QF-80 drone aircraft were used, their speed more nearly approximating that of current operational aircraft." The QF-80 aircraft were actually modified USAF P-80 Shooting Star aircraft that had been converted to drone status via an operation known as Project Bad Boy, which fell under the jurisdiction of a contractor called Perry Gyroscope. And that's not all. The document clearly states that the monkeys on board the aircraft were dressed in "various types of protective clothing" and wore skullcaps. A closer match to Stansel's admittedly alcohol-fueled and embellished description of the creature he saw would be very difficult to find, indeed. Case closed. And, in light of all the above, it's now time to crack open a few potent brews.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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